Rev Preben Andersen

will publish Bulletins during the Coronavirus pandemic.



Dear Friends,

Test and Trace. The latest step in the continued battle against the virus. I can feel another poem coming for the collection though not just yet. All these things take time to sink in and work out in your mind.

At least this time it is an NHS proposed and controlled initiative so hopefully we can avoid the usual mud slinging at government and opposition and even from within their own ranks at times. Perhaps instead of that we can support our health service and one another regardless of how difficult it may prove to roll out this new venture. And deep down am I the only one who is beginning to feel that we are almost coming to the point where we are possessed by the virus by default unless we are proven NOT to have it?

There is no question that this is going to be extremely heart rending and difficult for many people and that sadly in some cases people will be asked to self-isolate who may already have had and/or managed to recover from the virus. Simply because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time with the “wrong” people and may have been infected again as no one knows yet whether you can only be hit once. Which again means that for some people they may even be spending more time in isolation than at work with all the consequences this can entail.

It is difficult and this will take time and an enormous amount of patience. The scheme also has to rely on people’s willingness to be up front and honest, or, put another way, the initiative has to trust in all our better natures, compelling us to do what is right for everyone. While we wait for a vaccine I for one cannot see what better way forward we can take, but that does not mean to say that I cannot also see a lot of problems and arguments and – yes – evasive measures – ahead. And if I am totally honest, and as I write this, I just do not know how I will react if I get caught up in it myself. Perhaps we need to get to that very point before we know?

Not for the first time we need to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do in our situation?” And I think we all know deep down what he would do. As an example, in his dealings with lepers and outcasts one thing he certainly never did was self-isolate. Please understand I am not for a moment here comparing the lepers and outcasts of Jesus’ time with victims of Covid-19 today, not ever, there can be no such comparison. But again and again we read in the Bible how Jesus was right in there amongst the sick, speaking and listening to them, healing them by touching them, and as far as we can tell without himself bearing the marks or being infected by the sores of those whom he touched. This is Jesus for you.

It goes without saying that we today, even if our compassion and sense of empathy might ‘ask’ us to, cannot do what Jesus did and hope to get away with it. Medical science and common sense today force us to take different measures and to – yes – self-isolate, thereby, we pray, protecting others. It is what we are being asked to do, and it seems the right thing to do as well. However, this does not take away those very human emotions of compassion and sacrifice, even at personal cost, that all these measures also seem to expect and demand from us.  And when all is said and done, should I be amongst the number of people ‘caught’ one day, I do hope and pray that I will remember what I am writing here and that I am not only writing this for others but for myself as well.

I need to recognize that as a minister I do come into situations of having to take services at crematoria, admittedly with only a few family members present and with social distancing and the best possible hygienic standards in place. And yet, every time with each one of us there taking a risk. For who knows if not someone present carries the virus, maybe unknown to themselves, and if I am honest, while I felt okay leaving the house, am I still okay, now, preparing for the service I am being asked to take? Or could I, unknowingly, be a risk to someone, and – if so – should I not be prepared to be ‘found out’?

These are the important questions that I ask myself, and perhaps in a strange kind of way some of these might also have been questions that Jesus asked when he surrounded himself with the sick, yet rose above his own fears to give hope and assurance to those who needed it most. Whatever we do and however we act may we do so in togetherness for the benefit of all.

Preben 03.06.2020  

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